Cops Break Up Car Heist Last week, police from the 20th Precinct arrested four male teenagers for stealing over 20 vehicles in one night. The perps, three of whom are 17 years old and one of whom is 19, cruised around the Upper West Side targeting vans and large sedans. Once they broke into and hotwired these larger cars, the group lifted motorcycles from the streets too, hauling them into the cars and vans and driving them to new locations. The foursome was caught and charged with grand theft auto last Monday night, and police have been recovering the stolen property all week as residents go to move their cars for alternate side parking and discover them missing. One man parked his 1996 Chrysler Town & Country on West 70th Street and Amsterdam Avenue and later found it at Pier 76 with some damage to the driver's side lock-and two stolen motorcycles nestled inside. Phantom Furniture An employee at the furniture store was fired and reported to police for using a little too much imagination on the job. The 21-year-old worker processed fraudulent returns for inventory that never existed, then allegedly sold the store credit to friends to purchase more furniture at the store. The total stolen credit was for $3,449.17. Hot Spot Targeted The owner of a popular Upper West Side restaurant learned last week that his business had been the victim of fraud. The man's bank contacted him to inform him that two fraudulent checks had been drawn on his business checking account and deposited into a different account at another bank. The two checks were for $3,189.76 each; the victim had no idea who might have access to his account information. Phone Thefts Abound Criminals are still on the lookout for iPhones and other expensive smart phones, and the victims are often young teens walking home from school. One recent theft in the neighborhood occurred when a man approached a woman and asked for the time; when she checked her iPhone and put it back in her purse, the perp grabbed it from her bag and ran away. Other incidents involve two perpetrators approaching young kids and intimidating them into giving up their phones. Pricey Instruments Taken A 24-year-old musician was dining late at night with her friend at a bar on the Upper West Side last Friday night. She placed her French horn in its case at her feet, and she and her companion left the bar briefly before she remembered the instrument. By the time she returned five minutes later, the $8,000 horn was gone, and the bartender said he had seen a man come in and leave with the bag. The same day at the Juilliard School, a 19-year-old student was practicing violin in one of the practice rooms. She left the instrument in the room to pack up her things, and when she got it back to her dorm room and opened the case, the double-bass bow, worth $1,700, was missing. Silent Hold-Up A man walked into the Apple Bank on Broadway last Friday during the day and conducted a robbery without saying a word. He held up a handwritten note to the plexiglass of the teller window that read "I have a gun, no dye pack, no bait, $50 bills and $100 bills, this is a robbery." The teller forked over $1,700 in cash as instructed, which the perp placed into a black nylon bag. The robber is described as a white 30-year-old man with grey hair.
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